PAY YOUR DEBTS!
A debt is something that is owed to someone and even the smallest of debt can cause problems between the creditor and the debtor; and much like Pro. 22:7, where it claims that the borrower is servant to the lender, the debtor will often find himself under the influence of the creditor. Paul says, (Rom 13:7-8) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Love always pays it debts and love is a debt that is always due, Paul under the inspiration of the Spirit says to owe no man anything. In fact if people do us a wrong, we are not to render evil for evil, but rather we are to give them good back. Instead of them being the debtors and they owe us; we find ourselves as the one who owes them, where we must always make the payment with love and with not evil.
Rom 12:17- Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Strong’s Concordance defines evil (three different words) from the Greek as:
G2556 kakos: Apparently a primary word; worthless.
G4190 ponēros: From a derivative of G4192; hurtful.
G4550 sapros: From G4595; rotten, that is, worthless (literally or morally).
Evil is one of those words that most people can not really define if they were to be asked to do so, even within scripture its use and the understanding of the word is not always clear to the reader. Kakos is something that by its very nature is worthless; it really and truly brings nothing of value with it. Paul repeats this message in 1Th.5:15-22; where he uses also another word G4190---“poneros” in v.22; which means hurtful in its effect. This word is also used when speaking of rotten fruit; which if you ate from it, it could cause harm. So in 1Th.5:22, not only are we not to render evil for evil; but we are not to even give the appearance of causing harm (evil).
Have you ever heard, “Well I didn’t hit him, but I sure wanted to” or “You do that one more time and I’ll tear your head off!” That is the appearance of doing harm (evil). So in paying our debts, let’s not give or even appear to give something which in its nature is worthless and in its effect is harmful to the other person. In this we put coals of fire on the head of that person. What does that mean: “coals of fire”? It means they become our alter of sacrifice, where we offer the fruit of the spirit to our God as an acceptable offering; which shows we are his; and his grace is effectually working in us.
Jesus said, “(Mat 5:33-40) Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
Part of our paying our debts is to fulfill our word one to another (and to God). Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no, (no contradictions); anything more than this is evil (harmful). Jesus is speaking to people who know the law, but by their traditions they have circumvented the law of God. The Jews (Israel) said (in Ex.24:3); that they would do all the words of the Lord, yet through their traditions they nullified the words of the Lord. So this people that Jesus was speaking to was saying they were zealous after the law; and that they were obeying all of the law. The law said that if a person hit another, then the person who was hit; he by the law could require wound for wound and bruise for bruise. Everyone liked this law of retaliation; if you got hurt by another, you just take that person to the judges and you could get your pay back.
However, Jesus turned this law of retaliation around! What if you are the one who gave the first hit, just how quick are you to let someone get their blow for blow; that is, if you are the offender? Are you now zealous for the law when it’s you who has to give your cheek and allow yourself to be hit? If you say you are so zealous for the law, why make the person take you to court to get what you owe him? If a man is suing you, then most likely it’s because you are not paying what you owe him and he has to take you to court to get what the law says you owe him. Why, if you are so zealous for the law, do people have to sue you for the very thing which the law declares that you owe them, especially since you know beforehand what you owe? Also, the Law gives witness of your debt, so why go before men; just to hear them say, “Pay what the Law say that you owe”?
Basically, Jesus is saying to the religious Jews and leaders, “Since you have said yes to the law, then pay your debts, and owe no man or the law anything.” If you offend someone and they ask for your cheek, then give it and give the other cheek also. This way the debt is canceled to their satisfaction (full payment); not yours (something of lesser value). If you owe a debt, then pay it, don’t make them take you to court. It should not be the courts responsibility to make your yea be yea; it’s yours! We are to be a people of our word; as well as, we should allow the word of God to supersede any act or non-action that we may wish to do after the giving of our word. When we go beyond what is expected, we give a greater sense that we really are seeking reconciliation. We show we’re not just paying a debt because we have too or because we got caught, but because we really want to reveal we are a people of a gracious God. Whereby, we desire to operate out from a character that resemble God’s character, not that of the god of this world.
Paul makes an outstanding remark in 2 Cor. 1:15-20. He had promise to come to this people sometime earlier, but something had prevented him from fulfilling that promise. Paul wanted them to know that his promise was not made lightly; but, the outstanding thing is he ties his wanting to keep his promise, to the promises of God that are yes and amen. How can Paul be an ambassador of Christ if he goes about breaking his own promises? How can Paul convince anyone the promises of God are yes and amen; that God is a covenant keeper, if he can’t keep a simple promise himself? I believe Paul is giving us some insight into the grace of God here! How God can be weakened in the eyes of the people, by us not keeping our word. What of our authority before the angels of God or of Satan; if it is seen that we really don’t mean what we say? By all of this, the grace of God; the promises of God in Christ can be affected in our own lives if we are not a people of our word. If we plant contradiction into our own lives, then by the principles of reaping and sowing; we will then reap contradiction. Whereby, we will trouble our own spirit in believing God’s promises for ourselves, because our words have now become meaningless (of no value) to us.
I believe it is for this very reason that many people can not find the power of God in their own lives, is because they have compromise their word or don’t keep their promises to other people. Likewise, if we keep our word; then we can expect God to keep his and his grace flows uninterrupted, because all words now to us have value. Paul in Rom.8:12 called us debtors, not to the flesh, but to God; we owe everything to God and his grace. To Paul it is our obligation to serve God. Yet, in the minds of many, they see no such obligation and they walk after their own fleshly desires; all the while they try and claim God’s grace for their own. Paul also says, “Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked….” God’s grace is designed to flow in righteousness, it may temporarily cover us for awhile if we sin, but eventually grace may have to step aside and allow us to reap what we have sown in unrighteousness.
Jesus said: Luke 6:36-38 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
We need to understand that there are principles that govern everything we do in this earth; and the Lord himself placed these principles in the earth before man was ever created. How you respond to a person or a situation, will determine what you get. If you pay your debts, then grace will be able to work its best back into your life, but if you hold back, then the very same principles may work against you.